The activity room of Bragaw Hall was packed September 29, 2009 as students and faculty gave fifteen minutes of their time to save lives. The American Red Cross held a community-wide blood drive through the sponsorship of Chi Omega Sorority, Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated. “There’s a nationwide shortage of blood, especially in Wake County,” said Jacobi Smith, a senior in Psychology and member of Tau Kappa Epsilon. Smith said, “Our goal is to reach 150 donations today, and I definitely think we can do it.”
The mood in Bragaw was very relaxed, as pop music played on one side of the room and a movie shown on the big screen television on the other. The majority of donors sat and watched TV, listened to their iPods, or even read the Technician during their donation process. Katie Anderson, a senior in Business, mentioned that it was her second year of coming to donate at a Red Cross blood drive. In the past she was unable to give blood because of low iron levels, however, she has returned this year to try again. “I’m a little nervous, but I want to do this anyway. It’s for a good cause,” said Anderson.
According to Joe Noah, Supervisor and Collection Specialist with the Triangle Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, donating blood is a fairly painless process. “It feels like a shot in your arm. After that, all you have to do is lay there until you’re done,” said Noah. Donors typically give one pint of blood during a donation. Noah encourages donors to eat a meal before donating in order to avoid feeling dizzy afterwards, and to stay hydrated, drinking water as opposed to sodas and other carbonated beverages that shrink up the veins, making it harder for trained staff members to locate a vein in the arm during donations.
Noah said all blood types are needed and accepted during Red Cross blood drives; however O-Negative is the most coveted. “It’s a universal blood type and can be given to anyone,” said Noah. There is always a shortage in blood types O and B, which African Americans tend to have more than other populations. This is why Scott McGregor, senior in Computer Science and member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated, said his fraternity thought it was important to get involved with this cause. “We need to have an equal amount of donors from every ethnicity,” said McGregor. McGregor believes, “With a pool of different races, minority patients have a better chance of finding their match.” He added that he will be donating his blood as well. As the day progressed, more and more stacks of boxes filled with pouches of blood lined the back wall of the activity room, serving as a symbol of the many lives that will potentially be saved due to the efforts of all the donors.
The Raleigh Blood Center, 100 N. Peartree Lane, accepts donations Mondays from 2:30PM-7:00PM and Thursdays from 7:30AM-1:30PM. In addition, the Cary Blood Center is open Monday through Saturday. For more information on how you can donate, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (800-448-3543), or visit www.trianglearc.org.